Jul 29, 2014
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New Village Charter Maintains Official Titles, No Stipends

Village President Alex Torpey called it a 'shortsighted and disrespectful decision' to not change titles and add stipends.

New Village Charter Maintains Official Titles, No Stipends

The South Orange Board of Trustees adopted a new Village Charter in a 4-1 vote, Monday, that left out controversial topics the Trustees could not agree upon.

The Board could not agree on changing the title of the Village President to Mayor and the Board of Trustees to Village Council or adding stipends for elected officials with $1,800 for Trustees and $2,400 for the Village President.

On Dec. 23, after much discussion, The Board passed a revised version of the Village Charter on first readinf, which did not include stipends or title changes.

On Monday, the charter passed on second reading and was adopted by the Board of Trustees.

Trustees Sheena Collum, Walter Clarke, Mark Rosner, and Steve Schnall voted in favor while Trustee Deborah Davis Ford  voted against. Trustee Howard Levison was absent from the meeting.

“This ordinance makes a handful of changes to our charter,” said Village President Alex Torpey during a previous meeting. “A bunch of them are outdated, gender specific and parts of it talk about local laws that are now trumped by state statute.”

Torpey and Trustee Sheena Collum, a member of the Charter Review Committee were proponents of the title changes and stipends since the items passed in a 2011 referendum.

“This is a fairly shortsighted and disrespectful decision,” said Torpey. “It seems pretty obvious the community has asked us to make these changes, both the recommendations that came from the Charter Review Committee and the public that overwhelmingly supported these on the ballot.”

Over the course of several meetings, at least a dozen residents have taken the podium, with a majority against the stipends and titles.

Now that the Charter has been adopted it will go on a long journey through the state legislature, which could take years for it to be finally approved.

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